Air India may find itself nearing privatisation status with Tata Sons (with the Indian government targeting a deadline of 31st December 2021), but that has not stopped the national air carrier continuing to accumulate debts owed to the Airports Authority of India (who are a government stakeholder tasked with regulating the country’s airport infrastructure). Indeed, Air India currently owes the Airports Authority of India INR 2,000 crores (US $268.7 million) for a range of airport-related fees, such as landing and taxi ramp parking.
Air India has already faced significant financial woes in recent years and this has now been compounded by the Airports Authority of India revealing the extent of the debts owed to them. Their Chairman, Sanjeev Kumar, cited the fact that Air India were a serial offender in unpaid debts.
He said, “It’s not the fact that there is lots of debt on airlines. I don’t think there is much debt except Air India. I think it’s over [INR] 2000 crores dues and we are fairly confident that we would recover the past dues from them. Apart from Air India, no significant dues from other airlines are pending. One or two isolated disputed amounts is where the airlines and airport might have some difference of opinion and it must be raised by their various forum, either legal proceeding or negotiations.”
Air India Has Creditors Too
Ironically, there are several government run agencies that owe Air India money for advance ticket sales for air travel. This revelation came from the Finance Ministry, who says that these dues must be settled in order for the privatisation of Air India to be completed.